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Thoughts on my boy September 18, 2007

Posted by grimmeister in The spectrum.
1 comment so far

So, there I am, feeling alright with the world, having enjoyed a dinner prepared by my wife, who was feeling rather amused by her ‘clumsy day’ – I watched her drop all sorts of things and then stub her toe on a wall. I was sitting outside in the inky Johannesburg early summer evening (which is a truly marvelous thing indeed), listening to the crickets and other nocturnal insects and generally reflecting on my day. I was thinking about all the fun I had just had with my 4 year old lad, Connor J. He was having a complete hoot in his tyre swing, leaning back to watch the trees and then catching me out when I stopped singing nonsense rhymes to him. I could hardly prise him off the swing to go and take his bath, which he just loves having. We spent bathtime catching the little glittery clams, dolphins, whales, stars and tortoises that are mixed in with the bubble-bath. At dinner, Connor tried – unsuccesfully of course – to scrounge more tomato sauce for his chips before getting ants-in-his-pants, relievable only by getting down from the dinner table, naturally. Later, we had a session playing minesweep and some of the excellent childsplay games (I am convinced Connor is learning to type!) on the computer. Connor eventually drifted off to sleep after humming a couple of tunes to himself.

My mind somehow cast itself back to a time when we were still pregnant with Connor and went to a talk on vaccinations delivered by a cranio-sacral therapist guy. Now, the audience was hanging onto this fellah’s every word as if he actually knew what he was talking about. The medical doctor invited to give an ‘establishment’ view stuck out like a sore thumb, looking a bit sheepish in the face of the diatribe against vaccines. He tried pretty hard when his turn came to convince the audience that vaccinations are actually a *good thing*, but the audience generally was not listening, prefering instead to get sucked into the whirl of anecdotes, pseudo-science and assorted claptrap that the melodramatic altie therapist was spewing forth. I realise now that he was laying on a thick story that ultimately played to peoples fears of vaccines causing developmental delays and disturbances in their children and how these evil conditions can be avoided if only we bravely rebel against vaccines.

My thoughts swung back to Connor. He has only recently started his vaccination program and it seems to be going just fine. The thing is, well, Connor is autistic and epileptic and has been from his time in the womb, I am sure. If I were to be honest with myself, I would say that I was influenced by the cranio-sacral chappie a bit, but ultimately we did the right thing by holding off on the vaccines – we just did not know what we were dealing with in terms of Connor. But that is not my point. Rather, I was wondering to myself why people resort to scaremongering around things like autism. Why is it that people would prefer not to have children like my astonishing Connor J around?



RWC ’07 Kicks off September 7, 2007

Posted by grimmeister in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The SouthernTip is rugby land. The SouthernTip is also about to be rugby mad, for today is the start of the Rugby World Cup in France. South Africa seems to me to have a great chance of doing well. Some folk think that anything other than a victory in the finals represents failure. Sure, not winning it will be disappointing, but the level of competition is such that 1 of 4 sides is quite capable of scooping it and we Saffas should try not to become too glum if the trophy does not come this way.

So, I thought about a (very subjective) wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth-ometer metric (WAGOTOM) that could be applied to the various nations – basically, how deep will the depression be in each country should their chosen warriors fail to deliver a golden pot at the end of October.

Each nation to be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 on the following:

  1. Supporter Expectations
  2. Quality of Team
  3. Belief of Nation in Divine Right to Win RWC
  4. The Draw

Categories of WAGATOM (hey, this actually touches on some serious issues):

  1. National Disintegration and Moral Decay {35-40} – Economic reverberations felt, increased domestic violence, increased substance abuse, threats to the health of RWC participants even after vitriolic sackings have taken place, absenteeism, inability to do anything else other than morbidly dissect what could have been, front page of newspaper stuff for a good few weeks
  2. Woe is Us {26-34} – Enhanced levels of moping for a period longer than a week, absenteesim, minor turning to substances for a period of about a week, lengthy periods of dissecting the results – with much blaming of the referees, front-page news for a couple of days, sackings of RWC participants with associated blame attached
  3. Sporting Disappointment{15-25} – Two or three days of moping, substance induced hangovers, sports-pages headlines after initial front page burst, retirements and movements of RWC participants make the news, no economic effects other than lengthy and dreary discussions around the coffee pot
  4. Minor Sporting Interest {7-14} – Characterised by comments such as ‘I heard we lost the big rugby game – too bad, I am sure they tried hard’, featured on sports pages (possibly as a lead story, possibly not). Strangely, this WAGATOM can possibly still be felt in nations where the general feeling is one of Woe or Disintegration, but is restricted in the most part to womenfolk
  5. What is Rugby? {0-6} – zilch interest, national warriors might just as well have been having dentistry done, perhaps a small entry somewhere in the sports pages.

So, the maximum value of the WAGATOM for any country is 40, minimum is 4. Where do you think the nations fall and why? Lets try two extremes:

  • Portugal {4}
    1. Supporters? Are there any? {1}
    2. Name me one of the team members, I dare you… {1}
    3. What exactly is rugby? Must be some sort of wierd game played in the English colonies {1}
    4. Will lose (messily) to all of New Zealand, Italy, Scotland and will have a tussle with the Romanians only to succumb to the big chaps from the Carpathians. {1}
  • New Zealand {37}
    1. Nothing less than clear victory, obtained with style, power and verve, in a dramatic final against one of the old foes like SA, Aussie or England. All NZ fans know that NZ always beats France, but it would nevertheless be satisfactory form to beat France heavily in front of their home crowds {10}
    2. You could populate a World’s Best XV with at least half the All Black starting lineup – these guys are big names and are expected to perform (including suitably gushing pre-game, on-the-field micturation)! {9}
    3. Our team is the best team, we have been robbed for the last 20 years, the Cup is coming come this year, to where it belongs, and no ugly Saffa, stinking French or cheating Aussie team should even try to stand in the way of this Chosen Path {10}
    4. Will club Portugal, Italy, Scotland and Romania in the pool games. There will be hundreds of points scored and multitudes of tries. The Quarter-finals should see a resounding win against a weakened and demoralised England. Then, a semi-final face off with their RWC nemesis, Australia, followed by a date with SA or France in the final, where the big occasion could see any of these two raise their games to stratospheric heights. In a nutshell, the draw gets pretty tough for them after an easy start! {8}